Seeds of Inspiration Grow Understanding
Gardens Used to Teach Broward County Students
As the new gardeners get ready to plant, they excitedly share their comments.
These gardeners are students in the Specialized Varying Exceptionalities Program (SVE) at Deerfield Beach Middle School (DBMS). These students have special needs. Some are autistic and some have physical handicaps.
“We have 33 students in our program gardening for the first time,” says Mike Lubin, Special Education Teacher at the school. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them. They are actively taking responsibility for caring, growing and producing their own gardens. They will also help create recipes with what they produce.”
DBMS is one of 31 elementary and middle schools designing and building edible gardens in “grow bags”. HandsOn Broward (HOB) is helping create the special gardens. A State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) grant helps fund the unique experience.
Students from the selected schools not only create, build, and maintain sustainable gardens. They also learn to engage in healthy eating, nutrition, and environmental stewardship.
“I’m learning that plants need to have enough water, air and sun,” says Saniyah Kenon, second-grader at Liberty Elementary school. “I’m going to make a food dish for my mommy with the tomatoes I grow.”
“We’re trying to let the kids see where the food on their plates comes from,” says Saniyah’s teacher, Myrtle Lowe. “The students are overjoyed. They now have the hands-on experience of really growing their own gardens. Once the vegetables ripen, we’ll harvest. The school cafeteria will make salads and the students will be able to eat the food they tended.”
“Thanks to the support of State Farm, we are able to bring this service-learning program to thousands of students throughout Broward County,” said Dale Mandell, CEO of HandsOn Broward. “We believe hands-on experiences are particularly effective in teaching the importance of healthy living and environmental responsibility. We’re grateful to State Farm for sharing our vision.”